59k-Mile 1991 Peugeot 405 Mi16

The 405 was not only the last Peugeot to be sold in the US, but the last French car as well. It's lack of success here must have come as a surprise to the company, because in Europe it was a hit with the press and consumers alike, winning a bunch of new car awards and selling millions of units. Just chalk it up to one of many differences between the two continents, I guess.

French cars did have a poor reputation this side of the Atlantic, but the 405 was intended to rectify that. It supplanted the smaller and less modern 305 in 1987 with an all-new body and range of engines. However it was only offered as a sedan with just three engines choices in the US from 1988-1991.

The styling was credited to famed design house Pininfarina and, if you love 80s Eurobox sedans as much as I do, you just 'get' the appeal: big greenhouse, clean flat planes, black plastic anti-dent trim all the way around, and a rear awash in red plastic. It's approachable, it's simple, and at this point it's classic. What's that saying about good design? That it is invisible? I wholeheartedly agree, and this car is an example of how subtle design is an art.

Inside, occupants are treated to a simple, functional layout, with clear gauges, manual climate controls and big cushy leather sport seats. Kind of reminds me of the third generation Jetta, and that's a compliment.

Now, the 405 was already a pleasant, capable front-wheel drive cruiser. But what makes this low-mileage survivor even more interesting is the Mi16 trim (VIN# VF3DB1332MS518585) which means that there is a 1.9-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder fuel-injected all-alloy engine under the hood, capable of producing 150 horsepower. Suddenly, an otherwise polite but sedate sedan with a modest curb weight of around 2,700 pounds was faster than Peugeot's own V6 engine.

There weren't many made, less were sold and very few survive. Practically none are in this remarkable condition. The dark green and black interior is a great combo, and the original 15" alloys are present. The chrome paneling below the belt line isn't preferred, but may have been an original factory option. The seller is a dealer who say the car has had just one previous owner and the 59k-miles are accurate. Things certainly look like that low of a mileage. Check for rust and maintenance history.

This is a rare edition of a historically important car. As of this year, there still hasn't been a French car here since the 405. The seller is asking a hefty $14.9k for car, about $9k more than the highest estimates I've read for a 406 Mi16, but they also have the Make Offer option. How do you put a price on this? Regardless, let's hope it ends up in an equally caring next home.

Available here on ebay.

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